Tyco Jurors Ask for Guidance
Jurors in the trial of two former top executives of Tyco International indicated they had reached verdicts on an unspecified number of charges in a 31-count indictment but were seeking direction from the court on how to proceed on the unresolved charges. The jurors sent a note to the judge asking, "Can we deliver a verdict if we are unanimous on some counts and not on others?" The judge said he would answer the question today.
The jurors are trying to decide whether L. Dennis Kozlowski, Tyco's former chief executive, and former finance chief Mark H. Swartz took unauthorized pay and bonuses, abused loan programs and sold company stock at inflated prices after lying about Tyco's finances.
Settlement on Zyprexa Reached
Eli Lilly has agreed to pay up to $690 million to settle claims from an estimated 8,000 people who claim the company did not properly list risks associated with its anti-psychosis drug Zyprexa. The settlement, when finalized, will resolve the majority of Zyprexa claims pending in the United States, according to a Lilly news release.
"While we believe the claims are without merit, we took this difficult step because we believe it is in the best interest of the company, the patients who depend on this medication, and their doctors," Lilly chief executive Sidney Taurel said in a statement.
The company plans to take a $700 million charge in the second quarter to establish the fund and to cover claims not covered in the deal.
Firms Fined for Improper Trading
Morgan Stanley was fined $2.65 million by the NASD for selling shares in an initial public stock offering it had managed while the shares were still under a "lockup" period. According to the NASD, Morgan Stanley sold shares in Breakaway Solutions and AsiaInfo Holdings before it was legally allowed to do. The NASD also fined J.P. Morgan Chase $150,000 and Goldman Sachs $125,000 for similar violations in separate stock sales.
Costco to Sell Health Coverage
Costco Wholesale will sell discounted health insurance to executive members in California. Executive members, who pay an annual $100 membership fee, will be able to purchase individual policies at 34 stores in Southern California, said Dellanie Fragnoli, assistant vice president of insurance services. Costco will offer savings of 5 to 20 percent by taking reduced commissions and administering policies electronically. Costco currently offers small-business health insurance in five states through the new plan's provider, PacifiCare Health Systems, Fragnoli said.
Potential FCC Nominee Withdraws
A potential nominee for the Federal Communications Commission withdrew from consideration, citing conflict-of-interest rules. Christine Kurth, deputy staff director of the Senate Commerce Committee, had been recommended to the White House by committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). Kurth withdrew to avoid potential conflicts of interest because her husband, Tim Kurth, consults and lobbies for telecom companies.
A previous recommendation by Stevens for the FCC vacancy, Earl W. Comstock, withdrew because he employed a nanny with visa issues.
SEC Probes Molson-Coors Merger
Molson Coors Brewing said the Securities and Exchange Commission wants documents relating to first-quarter results and the $3.4 billion merger that created the world's fifth-largest brewer after investors filed lawsuits claiming they were misled about the company's sales. The lawsuits allege that Molson Coors failed to disclose a slump in U.S. revenue before shareholders approved the merger of Adolph Coors Co. and Molson in January and February. Molson Coors said that the lawsuits are "without merit" and that it will fight them.
SEC Accepts Take-Two Settlement
Take-Two Interactive Software said the Securities and Exchange Commission accepted its settlement offer, which includes a $7.5 million penalty, to end an accounting probe. The maker of the best-selling Grand Theft Auto games, restated financial results in February 2002 and February 2004.
Bridgestone and the United Steelworkers of America reached tentative contract agreements covering 6,000 workers at eight factories, averting a strike. Details will not be disclosed until the workers have a chance to review the agreements, which they still must vote on, union spokesman Wayne Ranick said.
Hasbro reacquired digital gaming rights for most of its toy brands from Infogrames Entertainment for $65 million. Infogrames, Europe's largest video-game maker, kept exclusive rights to Hasbro's Dungeons and Dragons brand for the next 10 years.
Compiled from staff and news service reports.